Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for September 21st, 2011

Troy Davis, Quite Possibly Innocent of Murder, Executed in GA

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Folks, it being the seventh anniversary of my late husband Michael’s death, I really hadn’t expected to be writing anything tonight.  But something so awful has just happened that I had to express my outrage . . . Troy Davis, 42, was convicted in 1991 of killing a policeman, Mark A. MacPhail.  But Davis maintained his innocence until death; more than that, seven witnesses recanted their testimony and three members of the jury that had convicted Davis said that Davis should not be put to death.

Yet he was, and I find that not only sad, but extremely upsetting, especially as Davis was willing to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence.  (The Georgia Department of Corrections refused his request, without explanation, earlier this morning.)

Here’s a link to tonight’s story:

And it’s not only me who feels justice has been denied here.  Barry Scheck, who runs the Innocence Project, said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” this evening that substantial doubt existed as to whether or not Davis was innocent.  William S. Sessions, former director of the FBI, said that he believed there was more than enough evidence for Georgia to stay the order of execution.   Here’s a few of his words, quoted from last week’s editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Serious questions about Mr. Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion, and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction,” Sessions wrote. He urged a state pardons board to commute the sentence to life in prison.

Look.  I’m just one woman, but I know when something is morally wrong.  The execution of Troy Davis tonight was a morally unjust and extremely wrong-headed action that everyone in this country should feel terrible about.  This man may well have been innocent, and if so, him being executed tonight was nothing less than cold murder — which begs the question, “When did Georgia forget about the Ten Commandments?”  Because perhaps the foremost commandment is this one: thou shalt not murder (often given in erroneous translations as “thou shalt not kill”).

According to the MSNBC TV reports, Davis’s last words were something along the lines of, “May God have mercy upon your souls” (to the people actually giving him the lethal injection) and he maintained his innocence until the very end.

I don’t know whether or not Davis was innocent.  But I do know Scheck and Sessions are very bright, able men, and both of them said the evidence did not warrant execution.

I really do not understand why the state of Georgia did this tonight, other than to show how barbaric they are.  But I do know this; I will keep my money out of Georgia.  I will keep myself out of Georgia.  And I will not do any business with anyone who lives in Georgia for the time being, either, as my own form of personal protest until the state of Georgia stops executing people who may well be innocent.**


** Note: this will not bring Davis back.  I know this.  I also know it may hurt me down the line with some friends, who are as innocent as I believe Davis most likely was . . . but the only way to hurt a state that refuses to do the right thing is to hit them in the wallet.  That’s why I am taking this stance.

Not Enough Words, Seven Years Later

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Folks, as of midnight 9/21/11, it has been exactly seven years since I last saw my husband, Michael B. Caffrey, alive.

I keep wondering what, if anything, I could’ve done to save Michael’s life, but none of us knew that his heart was about to give out.  If Michael had known anything of the sort, he would’ve camped himself in the nearest hospital ER even though he hated hospitals; there’s no way he’d have wanted to have his heart completely fail after four heart attacks, the first one having started around 10 a.m. on 9/21/04.   He fell into a coma quickly thereafter and never again regained consciousness.

Michael fought hard; the doctors said they’d never seen anyone fight as hard as Michael did to cling to life.  There was a pattern to the seizures he was having on the right side of his body; he appeared to be trying to communicate with me, even though he was in a coma.  He certainly knew I was there and he was trying very hard to make his body work; he just couldn’t do it, that’s all.

At 8 p.m., about two hours after a fourth heart attack had lowered Michael’s blood pressure to 30/10 with a pulse rate of 4, Michael was pronounced dead.  And I had to say goodbye to the man I’ve loved the most in all the world; I did my best to do this, even though it was and remains difficult for me to believe that my beloved husband Michael, an extremely creative, warm, and witty person, was dead.

I’ve told you in this blog post about how my beloved husband died.  But I cannot tell you how he lived, except with gusto and grace; I cannot tell you how much he loved me, only how much I loved him.

So, even seven years later, I don’t have the words to express the depth of my feelings for my beloved husband.  I wish I did; oh, do I wish I did.

All I can tell you is this: Michael changed my life for the better.  I miss him every single hour of every single day.  I know I always will.   And because of that great love, I will keep trying to help our writing find its audience (his, mine, ours, makes no never-mind now because it all has to go through me); that’s the only way I know to keep even a small part of him alive.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm